Bust out your fans and dust off your Contact DVD because UNHhhh is finally back!
After a long, pandemic-induced hiatus, the brainchild of Drag Race alumni Katya and Trixie Mattel is picking up where it left off, resuming its fifth season with weekly new episodes released on WOW Presents Plus. And as the fan-favorite drag queens at the heart of the series made clear to E! News ahead of their big return, they're just so happy to finally be in the same room again after a brief segue into remote filming for their short-lived spin-off Trixie and Katya Save the World.
"When we went back, we had to stay six feet apart always and no touching. No touching…But it's much better to be doing in the same room instead of remotely because the energy is totally different," Katya (born Brian McCook) said. "I don't like the Zoom thing. I'm just so sick of that. Whether it's six feet apart or 60 feet apart, it doesn't matter—as long as I can see and react in real time in the room with somebody because it's just strange on the video."
For the uninitiated, the short-form series features the two friends, who met as contestants on season seven of Drag Race, as they unleash their unique comedic sensibilities, riffing, ostensibly, on a new topic each episode before it's all pulled together by some award-worthy editing. However, more often than not, the cross-talk quickly and hilariously veers off course to follow any and every train of thought because, as they like to remind viewers at the start of every episode, it's their show "and not yours."
After making their debut as co-hosts back in 2016 on YouTube before a short-lived foray into cable TV with Viceland's The Trixie & Katya Show in 2017, followed by a return to the web as a staple of production company World of Wonder's video on-demand service, neither can quite wrap their heads around the longevity of their show.
As Trixie (born Brian Firkus) joked, "I knew I would be doing something. I didn't know she would still be here. For me, it's 'tick-tock, tick-tock.' We're living on borrowed time."
Keeping the gag alive, Katya replied, "I could go at any moment."
Getting serious, Trixie added, "To be honest, it's actually so weird to think that we're on episode 130 or something. I don't even know the episode number. Because I remember making the first one just for a fun a really long time ago. If you look at the first 30 episodes, don't you think, Brian, when you go back, you can see the delineation of which batches are done when?"
After Katya agreed, Trixie continued, "Like the first 30 was one kind of bunch, the middle 20 or so was a bunch. 'Cause usually it's around touring. And this season, you're gonna see the bunch we filmed before corona and after corona."
As Katya noted, "It's a journey."
And part of that journey moving forward is a new Q&A segment, where the queens attempt to offer advice to fans who've written in. When asked what gives them the authority to be offering anyone advice, both Trixie and Katya exploded with laughter.
Through the chuckles, Katya said, "Thank you. Thank you! Because—nothing!"
Trixie added, "You're the first person to say that. Everyone else is like, 'It's great that people can hear from you and get real help.' You're the first person to be like, 'Why are you asking these literal two pieces of s--t what to do with your life?'"
As authors of the new book Trixie & Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood, offering up their own brand of learned wisdom is something the pair have begun leaning into. But it doesn't come without a very hilarious caveat.
"In Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood, something we touch on in the first chapter is, like, we've done a lot of cool things, so we advise you on some cool things," Trixie said. "But we've done a lot of awful things. So whatever you think is your deepest depths, we've done it drunk and naked…So do as we say, not as we do. 'Take it from me, kid.' That's the energy. 'Take it from me, kid.'"
When asked what the craziest thing was that a fan has sought advice on, Trixie revealed, "People often try to get our attention by asking things that they know are through-the-roof too personal and crazy. It'll be at a meet-and-greet or something, and they'll be like, 'Oh, my girlfriend died and I'm trying to have sex with her ghost. What do you think about that?' You know what I mean? It's like, 'What? Did you think this was gonna make me remember you?' Because I guess it worked."
As for the best piece of advice they've ever received, Katya was succinct: "Mine is Dawn dish washing liquid. Honestly."
After Trixie laughed, joking, "There's no advice along with it. Somebody just told her, 'Dawn…,'" Katya elaborated, explaining, "It's $1.99 and it takes off all the makeup in less than 45 seconds. You just go right into the shower. It's incredible."
Trixie's offering, on the other hand, was a bit more serious than the pearl of wisdom that came from her co-host. "Honestly, I get a lot of miles out of this. Katya said, 'Die mad, haters.' It sounds simple, but it's the best," she said. "It's similar to some advice that [Drag Race season eight winner] Bob the Drag Queen gave me once which was just like, 'Not everybody's gonna like you and not everybody's gonna like everything you do.' Bob was just like, 'Do your thing because there's always gonna be people who don't like it. F--k everyone.' And 'die mad, haters' is kind of like a shorter form version of that. 'Die mad, haters' is flippant and psycho and funny, but it's also extremely insightful. People hating has a lot more to do with them than you."
It's a mindset that the pair have been able to put into action as they became first-time authors with the release of their book this summer. As Trixie explained, "I was looking at book reviews, which I know we're not supposed to do, and there were so many reviews of Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood of people who maybe bought it and didn't know much about us. People giving it really low ratings because they're like, 'I didn't find this helpful at all! I was looking for real help!' They didn't understand it was kind of jokey, so they kept going on tangents about things that didn't even matter. I love the idea of somebody wanting to learn to French braid and sitting down with our book, and then reading stories about cat s--t and being like, 'What?!'"
Unfortunately, coronavirus meant that the pair couldn't enjoy a traditional promo tour for the book's launch. As Katya joked, "We wanted to do a book tour with turtlenecks and sport coats and stuff. And thick glasses. But, oh well, what are you gonna do?" It didn't stop them, however, from landing a spot on The New York Times Best Seller list, something the two admitted to fantasizing about while speaking with E! News.
"If that happens, God willing, it is going to be said out loud to every single person I meet, regardless of how well I know them or how often I see them," Katya said.
Trixie interjected, "Or if it's even pertinent to the conversation," after which Katya continued. "Yeah! The Grubhub order comes in, I'm like, 'Hi! New York Times best-selling author Katya. Thank you so much. Goodbye,'" she joked. "That's it."
Getting serious, Trixie added, "The good thing about being a drag queen is we are afforded a certain amount of vanity that I think normal celebrities, it would be gauche for them to display. But for drag queens, when you like what you did, you get to sort of self-indulge because you're still just a monkey in a wig."
Katya advised, "You scream that s--t from the rafters, Mary. Absolutely."
As the two worlds where drag entertainers make their livings—the entertainment and nightlife industries—continue to face an uncertain future thanks to the pandemic, both Trixie and Katya insist they're not sweating it.
"It's not a problem for me. Every day's a miracle. Every day is a journey," Katya said. "I should've been dead long ago, so I'm just chilling."
Trixie added, "Drag queens are scrappy. On Drag Race, we get given 99 Cents Store materials and we have to make a costume, but drag queens kind of do that all the time. We also work in an industry that was not meant to favor us to begin with. We're not supposed to be celebrities. When Katya and I started doing drag, it wasn't because this level of celebrity was at all possible for cross-dressers, you know what I mean?"
As long as they can keep making their little green screen show, even under the new, socially distant guidelines, the rest can wait, they say. "Katya and I have a lot of touring projects coming up, and it keeps getting pushed into the future, but it's not like it's been canceled. It's not like it's never happening. Besides, the first shows to get pulled off the road were gathering of over a thousand, so I was pulled off the road a long time ago," Trixie continued, laughing. "When my shows were being pulled because they were gathering over one thousand, I was calling [Drag Race season five winner] Jinkx Monsoon like, 'They said small gatherings are fine. You still having a show tonight?'"
However unsure the future may be, both have a vision for UNHhhh five seasons from now. And, fittingly, it's a funny one. We'll leave you with their back-and-forth about the look of a potential tenth season.
Katya: Completely naked.
Trixie: I think she'll be a little thinner and I'll be a little less thinner. And it'll clear that, because of social distance, we didn't have as much time for costume fittings.
Katya: I say less words, more skin.
Trixie: Less talking and more just slow removal of clothes.
UNHhhh returns to finish out season five on Wednesday, Aug. 5, with new episodes debuting weekly exclusively on WOW Presents Plus before censored versions drop on YouTube a week later.